Our newest Client Cameo is Rita A. whose family has a long history in Colorado.  One branch of her family goes back to 1898 in Summit County, Colorado and to 1916 in Boulder. Her mother was born in Boulder, as were Rita and her two siblings. Her father was born in Eastern Kansas. When Rita was young the family moved to Garden City, Kansas and that's where she grew up.  In the summers, however, they always came to Boulder to visit extended family, often staying with her grandparents who lived in a house at the Boulder Hydro Plant in Boulder Canyon.  In the early 1950's, the extended family bought six acres of land between Nederland and Ward and, over the next several summers, built a family cabin on property adjoining Caribou Ranch.  Those are some of her favorite and most memorable childhood memories.  As you can imagine, Boulder and Nederland were quite different places back then!

In 1964, after one year of college, she was married and they moved to Topeka, Kansas. During the 12 years of her marriage, she had two beautiful children. Her husband was transferred frequently, so they lived in eastern Kansas, Alabama, Indiana and finally Atlanta, Georgia. The only time they traveled out of the U.S. was a 1 week trip to Jamaica. Rita says she was somewhat of a shrinking violet at that time, but as noted below she's evolved ever so much! One lovely memory she talks about during that time of her life was when she took a train trip with her daughter (age 6) and son (age 2) from Indiana to Kansas to visit her parents. They had a great time in their little private compartment with beds and their own bathroom. Seeing those pictures today still brings big smiles.

In 1980, while living in Atlanta, Georgia, Rita's roots started calling her back to Boulder with her children.  Even though she has traveled to many places, Boulder is her home and her soul.  The mountains and Mother Nature are her spirituality.  Fortunately, her daughter and son and their families (except one of four grandchildren) live nearby. Rita can't imagine life without them!

Over the years, Rita has been a legal secretary, office manager, tour director (traveling to many places, including the U.S, China, Hong Kong, Bali, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia), and property manager.  Her true soul work, however, was the twelve years she worked for an animal rights organization.  Her first campaign was to convince the City of Boulder to use the term "guardian" instead of "owner" of our dogs and cats.  Although some felt it was silly, it was very satisfying in that she believes we can never truly "own" another being. You might notice the word "guardian" being used on signs at Boulder's dog parks.

In 2006, after a two year campaign, Rita was successful in convincing the Denver Health and Sciences Center to release eleven Bonnet Macaque monkeys out of research to a sanctuary.  One of the rescued monkeys, Grinch, is still alive and resides at the Born Free Sanctuary in Texas. She was also successful in stopping the killing of over 200 dogs and pigs at CU in Denver. Those animals were being killed solely to train sales people for a private company how to use the medical devices they sold.  This likely would never have happened if she hadn't had a whistleblower who worked at the facility.  During this same time period Rita, with the help of volunteers, rescued and saved 16 Peruvian Paso horses from abuse. They were ultimately sent  to new homes in Arizona. And, during the frantic pit bull ban in Denver, she rescued many pit bulls and took them to safety. A proud moment for Rita was when a local reporter called her a "human wrecking ball" in reference to her animal rights victories. Researchers, however, called her a "terrorist", but indeed Rita is simply a mother and a grandmother who loves all animals and all that Mother Nature has to offer!

Rita's family is always her first love, but saving the lives of animals is next. She is a vegan and doesn't eat, wear or use anything that comes from an animal. It is important to her that no one suffers because of her!  Rita's dream is to convince the entire world that all animals, be they human or non-human, deserve kindness, compassion, dignity and freedom from abuse and killing.  She is very happy to see such an influx of plant-based, delicious food available today.

Rita now lives a somewhat quiet life with her little Rat Terrier dog, Poppy, and she loves to spend time with her family. Since she is unable to hike with her dogs like she used to, much of her time is spent on organizing the many hundreds of family photos she has (from the late 1800s to the current time), working on family ancestry and researching the many, many things she never had time for before. She seems to have developed an insatiable curiosity for knowing about virtually everything now, be it history, geology, science, etc. in the time she has left on this earth.

When Rita moved to her retirement community in May, 2022, she began using Cultivate's grocery shopping and delivery service for wonderful vegan staples.  She very much appreciates the service which she uses 2-3 times per month.  Rita says it is so freeing to have her groceries picked up and delivered directly to her door. She is so very thankful for Cultivate!!!

We are so grateful to have such passionate clients such as Rita, who has made such a positive difference in the world!  Thank you for all your compassion and activism. 

Credit to Marc Perlish Photography

About Cam Low:

Cam Low, a Boulder Native, enjoys the outdoors, practicing yoga, listening to live music, and spending time with her friends and family.  As an avid Buffs fan, she is a devoted volunteer with the CU Boulder Alumni Chapter and Buffs4Life as well as an Ambassador for the Boulder Chamber. She joined the Cultivate family in March 2020 as a Business Development and Program Specialist. Cam is passionate about helping seniors and eager to introduce Cultivate clients to other people within the Cultivate Community, further encouraging the connection and relationship between clients, volunteers, donors, and staff. 

Our wonderful clients are integral members of the Cultivate family! Each month we will feature their stories in Client Cameo. If you are interested or know anyone else who would like to be featured, please contact Cam Low at clow@cultivate.ngo